UK will need to go further with visas for Ukrainians, says Wales First Minister

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK is ‘of course’ going to take refugees and pledged to help people ‘fleeing in fear of their lives’.

27 February 2022

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford has said the UK will need to “go beyond” its current visa arrangements for those fleeing conflict in Ukraine.

Mr Drakeford seemingly criticised the Home Office over its announcement earlier this week that Ukrainians in the UK will be able to extend or switch their visas.

Mr Drakeford told BBC Breakfast: “There’s a slightly grudging spirit in the Home Office’s announcement, on simply talking about ‘concessions’ being made to people who are already here.

“As the position clarifies, we will need to go beyond that.

“It isn’t just the actions themselves, it’s the spirit in which they’re made that will be important to establish our reputation as a country which – in the face of these enormously disturbing events – is prepared to play our part in responding to those people who are at the very sharpest end of it all.”

Mr Drakeford said Wales aims to be a “nation of sanctuary”.

“We’ve tried to live that out in relation to Syrian refugees and refugees from Afghanistan,” he said via video from Carmarthen.

“And we will want to play our part again as the picture unfolds and as we work with other governments across the United Kingdom.

“In practical terms it means doing everything we can to provide those practical things: accommodation, education (and) healthcare to people who come to resettle and remake their lives in Wales.

“But it’s more than just services, it’s about an attitude of mind… and that sense of reaching out and welcoming people whose needs are so enormous.”

It came after a furious war of words erupted between the Government and Labour over Britain’s treatment of people fleeing Ukraine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK is “of course” going to take refugees and pledged to help people “fleeing in fear of their lives”.

His comments come after Labour said the Government’s refusal to relax visa restrictions for those seeking sanctuary in the UK is “immoral” at a time when the country is under fire.

More from Perspective

Get a free copy of our print edition


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.